State Orders Second Primary for Two Nominations

The State Board of Elections on Tuesday unanimously certified the results of the 2024 primary election in North Carolina and ordered several second primaries to be held on May 14.

The bipartisan State Board (SBOE) voted to canvass the votes cast in all ballot items within the jurisdiction of the State Board and authenticate county-level results. More than 1.8 million registered North Carolinians voted in the primary, a 24 percent turnout.

The state certification came after the 100 county boards of elections certified results at the county level in mid-March, and after post-election audits conducted in the past couple weeks verified the counts.

Under state law, a second primary may be requested by the second-place candidate if no candidate receives more than 30 percent of the votes cast in that contest.

The State Board ordered second Republican primaries to be held on May 14 for the lieutenant governor, state auditor, and the  U.S. Congressional seat for District 13.

While Hal Weatherman beat out a field of 14 candidates for lieutenant governor, he did not earn the required 30 percent majority to claim the nomination. Weatherman took 181,222 votes statewide. Jim O’Neill, who bested Weatherman in Columbus County, collected 146,472. Deanna Ballard earned 138,240 statewide, and Seth Woodall 102,070. Other candidates received between two and ten percent of the overall Republican vote.

The winner in May will face Democrat Rachel Hunt, daughter of former Gov. Jim Hunt.

The State Auditor’s position rarely gets much notice, but that changed last year when longtime democrat Beth Woods stepped down from the position. Woods allegedly struck a parked car while driving her state issued SUV leaving a Christmas party, then left the scene and drove to the law office of former Democrat State Attorney General Rufus Edmisten. Woods eventually pled guilty to a lesser charge and reimbursed the owner of the struck car for damages.

Dave Boliek and Jack Clark led a tight field of six candidates for the Republican nomination for auditor, with Boliek receiving 197,976 to Boliek’s188,398 votes. The winner of the May 14 Republican primary for auditor will face Democrat Jessica Holmes and Libertarian Bob Drach.

The State Board will issue certificates of nomination to the prevailing candidates in contests under State Board jurisdiction. The Secretary of State provides results of the presidential preference primary to the state political parties.

“Today, the State Board made sure that the votes of 1.8 million North Carolinians who voted in the primary were counted,” said Karen Brinson Bell, executive director of the State Board of Elections. “We appreciate the hard work of election officials and poll workers across North Carolina who helped make this primary a success. We now turn our attention to the second primary in May and, of course, the presidential election in November.”

After every election, elections officials conduct a series of audits and, when necessary, recounts, to confirm the election results.

Findings of post-election audits are detailed in the Post-Election Audit Report for the Primary Election on March 5, 2024.

Officials said the audits confirmed that “results tabulated by machine are accurate and that there is no evidence of fraud or other irregularities that could have affected outcomes in the primary.”

Also, county boards of elections conducted machine recounts in close contests across the state. These recounts found the initial machine counts were accurate, with very small differences in some counts but no changes in winners.

“These audits and recounts once again showed that voters can trust the certified and tested voting equipment to accurately count ballots in North Carolina elections,” Brinson Bell said.

For more information on the second primary, see the Upcoming Election section on the SBOE website.

About Jefferson Weaver 1973 Articles
Jefferson Weaver is the Managing Editor of Columbus County News and he can be reached at (910) 914-6056, (910) 632-4965, or by email at [email protected].